Saturday, 7 April 2012

Dartmoor Ouzels

Greetings All

Just a quick note to mention that we shan't be publishing Dartmoor Ring Ouzels on Devon Bird News during the breeding season. No doubt regular Devon birders will already know where to go and look for them, but the declining population can probably do without the added disturbance which may be inflicted upon it through broadcasting locations on the internet. So can co-authors please comply with this policy and pass the word. Many thanks for your understanding.


River Dart - yesterday 6/4

From train, between Buckfastleigh and Staverton - 2 pairs Mandarin, 1 pair Goosander.  [Richard Smith]

Challacombe area

Soggy morning with mist a drizzle at times. Willow warblers have moved in since last weekend with 7 singing, 3 Crossbill, and a Male Redstart being the highlights.

Thurlestone Bay

The Little Bunting showed at the feeding station at 16.45 for c10 mins.

3 Wheatears around South Huish; 3 Sandwich Terns in the bay (2 lingering early afternoon).

Powderham Park

One of the Ospreys present on and off all day, viewable from the lay-by, showing well sat on top of the closest dead tree in Powderham Park and has caught at least 2 fish today at c11am and 5.20pm.

Thurlestone Bay

Increase in the Swallow numbers today - singles at 09.45 and 17.15.

Bob B heard the first Reed Warbler this morning at South Milton Ley.

In the bay early this morning 4 Sandwich Tern and 1 Common Tern with a Wheatear by the cafe.

Thurlestone Marsh this morning held 20 Teal, 2 Snipe and a Water Pipit.

Little Bunting reported by visiting birders both in the morning and late afternoon

Braunton Marsh

The Adult Whooper Swan still with 36 Mute Swans on Braunton Marsh just west of the round linhay again this afternoon.

Exe Estuary

One of the Ospreys was seen patrolling the main channel between Cockwood and Powderham, from 13:20 - 13:30, accompanied by the customary swirl of clamouring gulls. Then the same, or perhaps a second bird, was picked up shortly afterwards tucking into a fish-based snack on one of the sand bars in mid-channel, this time with a couple of crows hanging around for some scraps. All this viewed from the east side of the river.

Still no hirundines over here!

Around the exe

Bowling green marsh from the hide 07:30 till 08:20

2 spotted redshanks, including the near summer plumage bird, 100+ bar tailed godwits, 100+ black tailed godwits, 12+ knot, cetti's, 2 reed buntings, 6 gadwall, little grebe and 2 roe deer

Orcombe point 09:30 till 12:30

1 wheatear in field along gore lane , a decent fall of 40+ willow warblers, 25+ chiffchaff, 12+ blackcap, 1 stonechat, 4 eider, and along the seafront back to exmouth 13+ sandwich terns

Exminster marshes

One spoonbill with the shelducks (c30), one little ringed plover and 5 sand martins all near the canal-side car park. Elsewhere 2 blackcaps singing, only 3 willow warblers singing and numerous chiffchaffs.


A male Pied Flycatcher was a surprise visitor to my mothers garden in the middle of the Foxhole estate yesterday evening, it stayed for about 10 minutes before moving on. 

Friday, 6 April 2012


2 of todays Redstarts ... all Redstarts are smart, but some are smarter than others!

The nearest we came to an Osprey carrying a fish !!

Good numbers today, though as to be expected, a bit thin on variety. The total of 9 Redstarts were all males, while other migrants included 14 Wheatears, 11 Blackcaps, 60 Willow Warblers and 40 Chiffchaffs. An early morning seawatch turned up 25 Manx Shearwaters and 10 Common Scoters. (New butterflies for the year today were Wall and Small Copper). PM, JL, TM.

Yesterday (5/4), an evening seawatch returned a total of 320 Manx Shearwaters, along with a single Red-throated Diver.

Beer Head & Axe Estuary.

On Beer Head this morning there were 2 Redstarts, 2 Wheatear & a thin scattering of willow warblers & Chiffchaffs

This afternoon at Corination Corner the very pale Iceland Gull was loafing about, then later seen on the site next to Tesco.

Plym Estuary

Two White Wagtails on Blaxton Meadow this afternoon amongst the usual flock of Pieds. Also 9 Little Egrets, 12 Shelducks and 1 Common Sandpiper.

Bowing green marsh

Watched from the hide from 17:00 till 19:15

The 3 spotted redshank were back in tonight, along with 12 greenshank, 103+ bar tailed godwit, 6 gadwall,1 pintail,4 shoveler,15+ knot, peregrine, 2 swallow

Thurlestone Bay

Still no Hirundines but at least 3 WHEATEAR.

In the Bay this morning - 15 GANNET, 13 RAZORBILL, 3 SANDWICH TERN, 1 RED THROATED DIVER ( on the sea - partial sp )

Thurlestone Marsh had 2 SNIPE, 9 TEAL, 2 SHELDUCK, 3 WILLOW WARBLER.

On South Huish marsh -3 SHELDUCK, 3 TEAL and a female WIGEON.

A visiting RSPB Group from Plymouth had the best birds of the day- 2 PURPLE SANDPIPER, WHITETHROAT and a nice Male REDSTART.

LITTLE BUNTING seen at 8.00 and 17.15 . A visiting birder from Cheshire left home at 02.30 arrived on site at 08.15 and waited until 17.15 before he had good views- his name Ian Fleming ( 007 )- he was the person who found the American Robin at Exminster marshes last year .

Rillage Point to Watermouth (nr Ilfracombe)

Good visible (and audible!) migration this morning. Small flocks of Meadow Pipits, Goldfinches and Linnets striking out to sea, heading north; 7 Crossbills going west; four Rooks heading straight for Wales high into the NE headwind; 16 Swallows (in ones and twos), 3 Sand Martins and 5 House Martins (the latter in one group and my first of the year); plus 4 Chiffchaffs and 1 Blackcap in the scrub. As unexpected as the migrating Rooks was a single Tree Pipit, which flew high over Widmouth Head calling as it went out to sea - just about the earliest I've ever recorded.

Otter Valley, Budleigh Salterton

Purple Heron showing well around mid day with first showing at 12.05 and then at 12.37 and 1.00pm. (after which time I left). All in vicinity of reed bed and ditches in 'second field'.  Seen mainly in flight and walking out of reeds.  Also a female Green Woodpecker, 4 Willow Warbler and the odd Sand Martin and Swallow.

Powderham marsh

  A male Ruff here this afternoon, coming into breeding plumage, but unfortunately lame, hopping on one leg all the time. Also 3  Little Ringed Plovers, a Green Sandpiper, a Peregrine and a Raven.
  If these LRP's are different to the 4 on Exminster marsh on April 1st., we've now had 8 birds at least [one on March 17th ]. They seem more numerous every year now.


Orcombe Point - 0625 - 5+ blackcap, 11+ chiffchaff , 2 bullfinch, 30+ meadow pipit, 1 stock dove, 3 wheatear, 9+ willow warbler, 1 red-legged partridge and the 4 eider still present. Also the ring ouzel and redstart still present but I saw neither this morning, annoyingly.
Mudbank - 11+ little egret, 1 dark-bellied brent goose, 34 red-breasted merganser, 34 sandwich tern and 1 osprey north upriver at 0910 with it or another at 1200 and 2 osprey fishing the estuary at 1500. Additionally one with fish heading inland towards Haldon @ 1640. Also spoonbill circling Powderham Park @1650 - all viewed from the back garden. Also 2 sand martin through.

Berry Hd

Common migrants fairly numerous around the headland this morning: 7 Willow Warbler, 16 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 2 Wheatear and 1 Swallow.

A couple of paddle boarders decided to get in close to the Guillemot colony panicking at least 1/2 of the colony to leave the ledges. The Paddle boarders then loafed around watching the chaos (probably did even know what they had done!) for another 10 minutes. This sort of disturbance during peak breeding season could be disastrous for the colony with eggs or young being kicked off the ledges or gulls and crows predating unprotected nesting ledges.


Orcombe point area 09:30 till 11:45

The male redstart was along gore lane a cracking bird, also 4 blackcaps, 5 willow warbler and lots of chiffchaff, 3 buzzards.

Along the seafront back to exmouth 20+ sandwich terns close to shore then at 12:10 all gulls went up and high over an osprey heading north/ north east first of the year for me.

Exminster marshes

What a difference today; bright, sunny and calm. Obvious influx of migrants over night with an increase of singing willow warblers (7), a male wheatear, 4 swallows, at least 3 sand martins and a yellow wagtail. David Cope heard a sedge warbler on the canal bank.
The flock of shelduck had increased to 45 but the numbers of shoveller had declined to 24. Scattered over the marshes were about 20 wigeon, c25 teal, 6 tufted ducks and 8 mallard.

Yesterday evening there was an impressive number of curlew roosting at high tide (c500), 2 oystercatchers, c30 swallows and c50 sand martins.


Heard singing first then saw my first Whitethroat of the year while running between Lapford and Nymet Rowland this morning. Yet to hear first Willow Warbler this far inland or see first Swallow. [Frank Youngman]

Yelland - yesterday 5/4

Osprey over, mobbed by GBB Gulls  [Steve McAusland]

South Milton

The Little Bunting still present this morning on the seed pile by the sewage works. Also 6-10 Reed Buntings, 2 Willow Warbler's (1 singing) and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Bowling green marsh

From the hide 06:20 till 07:30

3 spotted redshank again this morning including the near summer plumage bird, 10 knot, 60+ bar tailed godwit, 2 greenshank, cetti's, 3 reed bunting, 4 little egrets, pintail(m), 4 shoveler, 6 gadwall, 2 roe deer, 100+ black tailed godwits, 3 willow warbler, 4+ chiffchaff, 1 blackcap

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Otter Estuary

Purple Heron showed well in the second field north of the bridge (South Farm Road). At 16.45 was near the ditch to the left of the field. Talking to other birders on site the bird had been very active between the second and third fields. I only got to see him as a Grey Heron had spooked him out of the ditch. Other birds were blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch and Green Woodpecker.

Otter Estuary

Despite not seeing the Purple Heron today, other birds of interest today included:
5 Wheatears on the cricket pitch
Water Pipit and Yellow Wagtail seen by visiting birders
1 Grey Plover on the scrapes and best of all a Little Ringed Plover this evening


A superb male Pied Flycatcher in my garden (Mount Gould) at 8.15pm tonight! The first record here in over 20 years of living here.

photo by Jake Aley


Orcombe Point - 0650, 1700 & 1900 - three short visits today but would have liked to have spent longer. Although very cold and damp, migrants were in good supply. A singing male firecrest along the coast path towards Sandy Bay was unusual - the first I've ever heard singing in this country. The hedges were alive with at least 30+ phyllosc sp, predominantly willow warbler and there were 8 wheatear, 4+ meadow pipit, 2 blackcap, 1 male redstart (top fields), a bullfinch and best of all a superb male ring ouzel found this evening by Brian Heasman in the top fields.

Bowling green marsh

A cold overcast afternoon on the marsh from the viewing platform looking over the estuary 20 ringed plover, 10 knot, and a spotted redshank, 2 red breasted mergansers

From the hide 17:00 till 18:30.
3 spotted redshank one about three quarters into summer plumage a cracking looking bird, 10 knot, 78 bar tailed godwit, 140+ black tailed godwit, 80+ redshank, 2 shoveler, 6 wigeon, 6 gadwall, good passage of swallows and sand martins, little egret, little grebe

Not a bad afternoon

Thurlestone Bay

A bitterly cold day with a brisk ENE wind.

3 hr sea watch from 09.15 produced - 7 Common scoter and a Teal east, 10 Sandwich Tern, 2 Razorbill and 2 Great crested Grebe in the Bay.

First large passage of Meadow Pipit- 175 came in off the sea and flew north - largest flock 40.

This eve. high tide wader roost - 14 Turnstone and 21 Oystercatcher


Summer plumage Slavonian grebe off recreational playing fields late pm.

Otter Estuary

The Purple Heron showed nicely between approx. 15:15 and 15:45 this afternoon in the 3rd field north of Whitebridge lane, having flown across from the 2nd field. Last seen wandering down into the wet ditch inside the wide hedgerow on the N side of the 3rd field. Stunning bird!

Very little else showing in the cold conditions. Just a scattering of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, plus 2-3 Willow Warblers.

Exminster marshes

A walk around the southern part at lunch time revealed few birds. It was cold, overcast and damp. On the lagoon a few ducks remain; 4 gadwall, 20+ shoveller and a few tufted duck. Low over the water were c12 swallows and c25 sand martins. Elsewhere on the marshes I counted 15 swallows, c20 shelduck, 30 teal, a single dark bellied brent goose (at Turf) and 7 curlew. Few birds singing but those that were included willow warblers (2), chiffchaffs (5) and Cettis (3).

Little Haldon Hoopoe - Negative News

No sign of the Hoopoe around the crossroads last night 17.40 – 18.20 or this morning 07.30 – 08.15

[Will Salmon]

Teignmouth Golf Course and Otter Estaury

The blog published earlier today with pics of the Hoopoe and Purple Heron was for yesterday 4 April, not today. Aplologies for not making it clear!

Teignmouth Golf Course and Otter Estuary

The Hoopoe showed well in the morning feeding on the golf course and flying across the road to the heath before returning to feed again.

In the afternoon I went to Whitebridge hoping to see the Purple Heron which had been elusive the previous afternoon. During the afternoon and early evening it showed well on a couple of occasions.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Teignmouth Golf Course and Otter Estuary

The Hoopoe showing very well early morning by the 'Little Haldon' Crossroads on Teignmouth Golf Course-either by the disused building north west of the crossroads or on the golf course south east of the crossroads. Also a Willow Warbler singing. A Ring Ouzel was reported there at 4pm.

The Purple Heron showing well on and off all afternoon in the 2nd field north of White Bridge, on the Otter Estuary. Also a Swallow this evening and a Green Woodpecker calling by the river.


The pair of Garganey were on the Higher Ley this morning.

Thurlestone Bay

Quick update from this morning- first HOBBY of the year flew through South Milton Ley at 09.30 .LTTLE BUNTING on show at 08.45.

IN the Bay a SANDWICH TERN and 2 RED THROATED DIVER on the sea

Hoopoe at Little Haldon

The Teigmouth Golf Course Hoopoe has been stocking up on leatherjackets. A couple of nice photos from Charlie Fleming.

Yesterday afternoon
This morning

Otter Valley, Budleigh Salterton

Purple Heron showed for five seconds at 10.35am as it flew up from western side of valley, two fields north of West Town Farm - Whitebridge road, and dropped into reed bed.  Seen by David Jannaway and self from west path where view into reed bed is obscure but nearer to where bird is present.

Axe Estuary

1 Whimbrel and 68 Black-tailed Godwits this morning.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Dead Otters

A note from Robert Hurrell of the Environment Agency...

The Environment Agency has Post Mortems (PM's) carried out on all dead Otters that they can safely get access to. Many are unfortunately killed crossing roads but there are many other potential causes of death to these largely elusive mammals. The PM's provide data on many different aspects of Otter biology so a great deal of valuable information is being gained about this animal and the health of the water environment. If you find a dead Otter please contact 08708 500250 and ask to speak to your local Environment Agency Fisheries and Biodiversity team.

It's worth adding that PM results are apparently made available to the finder too, if he/she wants them.

Bolberry Down - yesterday 2/4

Osprey at about 1145 hours 'patrolling' the cliff edge just to the east of the car park.  [Bob Philpott]

Hoopoe, Teignmouth Golf Course

In slight rain at 7pm. Hoopoe on path along road next to Teignmouth Golf Course west of crossroads.

Matford marsh & bowling green marsh

Matford marsh this afternoon 3 green sandpipers showed well

Bowling green marsh from 15:00 till 18:00 from the hide

A spotted redshank flew in with 60+ redshanks, there was a steady passage of sand martins 140+, 40+ swallows, and my first house martins of the year with 2. Also still 6 gadwall,1 shoveler and 7+ wigeon, 2 little egrets, 30+ shelducks, 1 common gull, 1 peregrine, 50+ bar tailed godwits, 90+ black tailed godwits, 2 little grebes, 1 fox, 2 roe deer

Exmouth to Sidmouth

Despite all the fantastic birds today, I managed to miss everything.

Then I thought I was perhaps becoming a bit nonchalant about all the great stuff we have down here:

Female wheatear on Budleigh beach.
A couple of skylarks in the fields beyond the otter.
Displaying rock pipits in the same fields.
Male and female kestrel clearly getting on - saw some great behaviour that I'd not seen before.
Not bad at all!

Thurlestone Bay

A Cuckoo found by Bob B at South Huish marsh is the earliest date he can remember.

At last some Hirundines - hard to call 4 Swallow and a single Sand Martin a passage. A single Wheatear in the cafe field with a single Sandwich Tern in the bay.

Little Bunting sill showing this morning. A few Willow Warblers moving through

Purple Heron - Otter

An adult Purple Heron is viewable (with patience) in the wet reedy flash just north of White Bridge. Take the main track north and view the second field on left.
Present since 08.30am when found by a local Exmouth birder - Oh how I wish I had taken that path this morning!!
Great find and a great bird.

Hoopoe Little Haldon

Hoopoe seen last night and at 11:05 this morning at Little Haldon. From Teignmouth take B3192 towards Exeter and turn left near summit of hill. Road goes through golf course and bird was seen from the first cross roads that you come too. Today it was seen on the left corner of the golf course (near the practice area signs). [Chris Stone]

Slapton Ley

Monday 2/04
The pair of Garganey quite active early evening over the Higher Ley

Monday, 2 April 2012

Black Hole Marsh

3 Little Ringed Plovers this afternoon   [Pete Adey]

Western Channel Observatory (L4) - Plymouth

08:00am - 11:00am

6 Manx Shearwater and hardly anything else but for a few Gannet, Guillemot, Herring Gull and a single Fulmar.

Had my first Willow Warbler of the year at Fernworthy Reservoir yesterday along with a single Crossbill.


I collected the dead juv Otter this evening and passed it on to a friend who has given it a quick inspection. Sadly, it seems to have been a victim of a dog attack. I'm frankly a) Not surprised - half the dog-owning population of Braunton seem to thinks it's ok to let their dogs loose in these fields. b) Deeply distressed that the first Otter I should see at this location in many a year is a dead one, and this year's juvenile as well.
I will make strenuous efforts to speak with the land-owners to see if we can get dogs kept under control and on their leads.

Around the exe

Matford marsh this afternoon 2 green sandpipers

Double locks wetland 1 green sandpiper

Exminster marsh, 3 swallows over the turf hotel, 2 blackcaps, 5+ chiffchaff, 2 willow warblers along path by railway line , 4 cetti's.

Received report of the female hen harrier being over powderham marsh at 17:20

Exminster marshes

A single swallow this evening was the first one I have seen on the marsh this year. The little-ringed plover on the pool nearest the canal this morning could not be located this evening but there were about 30 shelduck being very active and noisy. Otherwise quiet.

River Teign

Midday. Osprey made its way upriver until being mobbed by Herring Gulls then went back towards Teignmouth. Some distant, hence poor, shots

Thurlestone Bay

A very flat calm sea this morning enabled me to see a pod of 20+ Dolphin in the Bay , they were surrounded by 40 Gannet and 200+ Herring Gull.

4 Sandwich Tern and 3 Common Scoter flew through.

A Little Ringed Plover on South Huish Marsh from lunchtime , a male Wigeon still.

Little Bunting showed well at various times to the delight of visitors


14:30 Two Spoonbill in mid channel of the estuary between Anchor wood bank and Pottington. By the look of the bill's I would think they were both juveniles. Attached record shots taken from around 150 yards and heavily cropped. One was even having a bit of fun with a Curlew!

SE Dartmoor

Red Kite heading E and several Swallows moving N.

Dead Otter

Re Maurice's post on the dead otter, it sounds like it was found very near to where the poorly Heron that I found last week and Jon found dead the next day (on the edge of the reeds right by the barn) - could be a tie-up!!!!


An Osprey being mobbed by Gulls over Wrafton, headed east.

Sherpa Marsh, Braunton


2 Water Pipits and 2 Jack Snipe on edge of Sherpa Pond. Also found a dead, young Otter near the barn on the marsh. It was about 18"-20" long and a good weight, so hadn`t died from emaciation. There was no sign of infestation and I would estimate it had died or been  killed within the last 2 days. I couldn`t see any obvious injuries but suspect it had been killed by a dog or similar.

Newton Abbot/Teignmouth

Hackney Marshes late Saturday afternoon - Cetti's and blackcap singing, skylark over the racecourse along with a single kestrel. Teignmouth Beach last night - lots of sandwich terns busy fishing. Also recently, grey wagtail in song down by Newton Abbot bus station, raven over Courtney Park and personal peak count of six buzzards over the town.

Exminster Crane

Crane left exminster marshes at 9.35 circled over powderham marsh a few times and then left in south-south- east direction out of view. [David Smith]

Colyford Marsh

The Crane still present this morning on Colyford Marsh, visible from B3172 Axmouth Road by Stedcombe Vale.

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Deadly quiet today....until 19:45 when an adult Crane flew over the town and landed on Colyford Marsh! Still present as it was getting dark at 20:20, but had moved onto the river adjacent to Black Hole Marsh by then. Apparently the Exminster bird was still on view when this one turned up.

Exminster Marsh

Called into Exminster Marsh this evening,to look for spring migrants when i spotted 2 large birds flying onto and across the marsh the 1st was a Grey Heron and the 2nd larger bird looked to be a crane but i lost sight of it,the Heron carried on flying towards Turf,so i assumed the other bird had landed, i cold not see it from where i was,so nipped over to the viewpoint at Powderham Marsh and within minutes had picked out a Adult Common Crane in the area of the Main Lagoon on Exminster Marsh, probably best viewable from footpath along railway track. Also seen 10+ Sand Martin and 1 Green Sandpiper,1 Willow Warbler and 14 Wigeon.


Orcombe Point - 0640 - 6+ chiffchaff, 7+ willow warbler, 1 yellowhammer west (very infrequent on Orcombe), and 5 blackcap. Migrants there in the last couple of days have included 1 swallow, 2 bar-tailed godwit and 5+ willow warbler yesterday and 1 pale-bellied brent goose, 1 wheatear and 1 redwing on 30/3.
West Lodge - 1630 - yellow-browed warbler still, 3 sandwich tern, 2 treecreeper and 1+ chiffchaff.

Adult Crane,Exminster

18.30 hrs 1 Adult Crane from first layby after railway bridge. Distant and at times obscured by bank.
Otherwise quiet apart from 3 sand martins over


Red Kite flew up the Exe Valley today around 5pm. Bickleigh nr Tiverton.  [Peter Burston]

Thurlestone Bay

Lack of Hirundines over - although only 3 SWALLOW - over the village late afternoon, but still no Wheatear

Waders on the rocks this am - 1 PURPLE SANDPIPER, 1 SANDERLING , 4 TURNSTONE. In the bay a SANDWICH TERN.

On South Huiosh Marsh 2 WIGEON.

LITTLE BUNTING showed well at times during the day to the delight of visitors

Braunton Marsh

Finally caught up with Jon Turner's Whooper Swan this morning, it was on the marsh with 24 Mute's.

Darts Farm, Topsham

A quick look around the farm this morning produced a single Green Sandpiper, a small group of Wigeon remain (6) along with a larger count of Teal (11) with some displaying males. A lone Brent Goose and 4 Shelducks.

Good views of Reed Buntings on the feeders, and 2 Raven around the site midday.

No sign of the Ruff which was seen yesterday and on the 29th.


Two Little Ringed Plover on mud by Tarka Trail adjacent to Wrafton Pond.

Whooper Swan on Sherpa Marsh.

One Swallow - not quite summer yet!

Exminster marshes

One little ringed plover south of S bend in lane at 9.30

Plymouth area, Sat 31st March

A few modest signs of spring.

Staddon Heights: 6+ singing Chiffchaffs, 2 singing Blackcaps. Also Speckled Wood.

Radford Park: one Willow Warbler singing.

Plym Estuary & Saltram: Greenshank 2, Little Egret 9, Tufted Duck 2 (pair).

Slapton Ley

Male and female Garganey showing well on the Graveyard Pool this morning. ( Graveyard Pool is the area of water enclosed by reeds and the road on the right side of the road as you walk down to the beach from Slapton Bridge ).